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  • Catechism of the Catholic Church | Catholic Culture
    life and worship perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is all that she believes 37 The sayings of the holy Fathers are a witness to the life giving presence of this Tradition showing how its riches are poured out in the practice and life of the Church in her belief and her prayer 38 79 The Father s self communication made through his Word in the Holy Spirit remains present and active in the Church God who spoke in the past continues to converse with the Spouse of his beloved Son And the Holy Spirit through whom the living voice of the Gospel rings out in the Church and through her in the world leads believers to the full truth and makes the Word of Christ dwell in them in all its richness 39 II THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TRADITION AND SACRED SCRIPTURE One common source 80 Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture then are bound closely together and communicate one with the other For both of them flowing out from the same divine well spring come together in some fashion to form one thing and move towards the same goal 40 Each of them makes present and fruitful in the Church the mystery of Christ who promised to remain with his own always to the close of the age 41 two distinct modes of transmission 81 Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit 42 And Holy Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit It transmits it to the successors of the apostles so that enlightened by the Spirit of truth they may faithfully preserve expound and spread it abroad by their preaching 43 82 As a result the Church to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honoured with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence 44 Apostolic Tradition and ecclesial traditions 83 The Tradition here in question comes from the apostles and hands on what they received from Jesus teaching and example and what they learned from the Holy Spirit The first generation of Christians did not yet have a written New Testament and the New Testament itself demonstrates the process of living Tradition Tradition is to be distinguished from the various theological disciplinary liturgical or devotional traditions born in the local churches over time These are the particular forms adapted to different places and times in which the great Tradition is expressed In the light of Tradition these traditions can be retained modified or even abandoned under the guidance of the Church s Magisterium III THE INTERPRETATION OF THE HERITAGE OF FAITH The heritage of faith entrusted to the whole of the Church 84 The apostles entrusted the Sacred deposit of the faith the depositum fidei 45 contained in Sacred Scripture and Tradition to the whole of the Church By adhering to this heritage the entire holy people united to its pastors remains always faithful to the teaching of the apostles to the brotherhood to the breaking of bread and the prayers So in maintaining practising and professing the faith that has been handed on there should be a remarkable harmony between the bishops and the faithful 46 The Magisterium of the Church 85 The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ 47 This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter the Bishop of Rome 86 Yet this Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God but is its servant It teaches only what has been handed on to it At the divine command and with the help of the Holy Spirit it listens to this devotedly guards it with dedication and expounds it faithfully All that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is drawn from this single deposit of faith 48 87 Mindful of Christ s words to his apostles He who hears you hears me 49 the faithful receive with docility the teachings and directives that their pastors give them in different forms The dogmas of the faith 88 The Church s Magisterium exercises the authority it holds from Christ to the fullest extent when it defines dogmas that is when it proposes truths contained in divine Revelation or also when it proposes in a definitive way truths having a necessary connection with these 89 There is an organic connection between our spiritual life and the dogmas Dogmas are lights along the path of faith they illuminate it and make it secure Conversely if our life is upright our intellect and heart will be open to welcome the light shed by the dogmas of faith 50 90 The mutual connections between dogmas and their coherence can be found in the whole of the Revelation of the mystery of Christ 51 In Catholic doctrine there exists an order or hierarchy of truths since they vary in their relation to the foundation of the Christian faith 52 The supernatural sense of faith 91 All the faithful share in understanding and handing on revealed truth They have received the anointing of the Holy Spirit who instructs them 53 and guides them into all truth 54 92 The whole body of the faithful cannot err in matters of belief This characteristic is shown in the supernatural appreciation of faith sensus fidei on the part of the whole people when from the bishops to the last of the faithful they manifest a universal consent in matters of faith and morals 55 93 By this appreciation of the faith aroused and sustained by the Spirit of truth the People of God guided by the sacred teaching authority Magisterium receives the faith once for all delivered to the saints The People unfailingly adheres to this faith penetrates it more deeply with right judgment and applies it more fully in daily life 56 Growth in understanding the faith 94 Thanks to the assistance of the Holy Spirit the understanding of both the realities and the words of the heritage of faith is able to grow in the life of the Church through the contemplation and study of believers who ponder these things in their hearts 57 it is in particular theological research which deepens knowledge of revealed truth 58 from the intimate sense of spiritual realities which believers experience 59 the sacred Scriptures grow with the one who reads them 60 from the preaching of those who have received along with their right of succession in the episcopate the sure charism of truth 61 95 It is clear therefore that in the supremely wise arrangement of God sacred Tradition Sacred Scripture and the Magisterium of the Church are so connected and associated that one of them cannot stand without the others Working together each in its own way under the action of the one Holy Spirit they all contribute effectively to the salvation of souls 62 IN BRIEF 96 What Christ entrusted to the apostles they in turn handed on by their preaching and writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to all generations until Christ returns in glory 97 Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture make up a single sacred deposit of the Word of God DV 10 in which as in a mirror the pilgrim Church contemplates God the source of all her riches 98 The Church in her doctrine life and worship perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is all that she believes DV 1 99 Thanks to its supernatural sense of faith the People of God as a whole never ceases to welcome to penetrate more deeply and to live more fully from the gift of divine Revelation 100 The task of interpreting the Word of God authentically has been entrusted solely to the Magisterium of the Church that is to the Pope and to the bishops in communion with him Article 3 ARTICLE 3 SACRED SCRIPTURE I CHRIST THE UNIQUE WORD OF SACRED SCRIPTURE 101 In order to reveal himself to men in the condescension of his goodness God speaks to them in human words Indeed the words of God expressed in the words of men are in every way like human language just as the Word of the eternal Father when he took on himself the flesh of human weakness became like men 63 102 Through all the words of Sacred Scripture God speaks only one single Word his one Utterance in whom he expresses himself completely 64 You recall that one and the same Word of God extends throughout Scripture that it is one and the same Utterance that resounds in the mouths of all the sacred writers since he who was in the beginning God with God has no need of separate syllables for he is not subject to time 65 103 For this reason the Church has always venerated the Scriptures as she venerates the Lord s Body She never ceases to present to the faithful the bread of life taken from the one table of God s Word and Christ s Body 66 104 In Sacred Scripture the Church constantly finds her nourishment and her strength for she welcomes it not as a human word but as what it really is the word of God 67 In the sacred books the Father who is in heaven comes lovingly to meet his children and talks with them 68 II INSPIRATION AND TRUTH OF SACRED SCRIPTURE 105 God is the author of Sacred Scripture The divinely revealed realities which are contained and presented in the text of Sacred Scripture have been written down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit 69 For Holy Mother Church relying on the faith of the apostolic age accepts as sacred and canonical the books of the Old and the New Testaments whole and entire with all their parts on the grounds that written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit they have God as their author and have been handed on as such to the Church herself 70 106 God inspired the human authors of the sacred books To compose the sacred books God chose certain men who all the while he employed them in this task made full use of their own faculties and powers so that though he acted in them and by them it was as true authors that they consigned to writing whatever he wanted written and no more 71 107 The inspired books teach the truth Since therefore all that the inspired authors or sacred writers affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture firmly faithfully and without error teach that truth which God for the sake of our salvation wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures 72 108 Still the Christian faith is not a religion of the book Christianity is the religion of the Word of God a word which is not a written and mute word but the Word which is incarnate and living 73 If the Scriptures are not to remain a dead letter Christ the eternal Word of the living God must through the Holy Spirit open our minds to understand the Scriptures 74 III THE HOLY SPIRIT INTERPRETER OF SCRIPTURE 109 In Sacred Scripture God speaks to man in a human way To interpret Scripture correctly the reader must be attentive to what the human authors truly wanted to affirm and to what God wanted to reveal to us by their words 75 110 In order to discover the sacred authors intention the reader must take into account the conditions of their time and culture the literary genres in use at that time and the modes of feeling speaking and narrating then current For the fact is that truth is differently presented and expressed in the various types of historical writing in prophetical and poetical texts and in other forms of literary expression 76 111 But since Sacred Scripture is inspired there is another and no less important principle of correct interpretation without which Scripture would remain a dead letter Sacred Scripture must be read and interpreted in the light of the same Spirit by whom it was written 77 The Second Vatican Council indicates three criteria for interpreting Scripture in accordance with the Spirit who inspired it 78 112 1 Be especially attentive to the content and unity of the whole Scripture Different as the books which compose it may be Scripture is a unity by reason of the unity of God s plan of which Christ Jesus is the center and heart open since his Passover 79 The phrase heart of Christ can refer to Sacred Scripture which makes known his heart dosed before the Passion as the Scripture was obscure But the Scripture has been opened since the Passion since those who from then on have understood it consider and discern in what way the prophecies must be interpreted 80 113 2 Read the Scripture within the living Tradition of the whole Church According to a saying of the Fathers Sacred Scripture is written principally in the Church s heart rather than in documents and records for the Church carries in her Tradition the living memorial of God s Word and it is the Holy Spirit who gives her the spiritual interpretation of the Scripture according to the spiritual meaning which the Spirit grants to the Church 81 114 3 Be attentive to the analogy of faith 82 By analogy of faith we mean the coherence of the truths of faith among themselves and within the whole plan of Revelation The senses of Scripture 115 According to an ancient tradition one can distinguish between two senses of Scripture the literal and the spiritual the latter being subdivided into the allegorical moral and anagogical senses The profound concordance of the four senses guarantees all its richness to the living reading of Scripture in the Church 116 The literal sense is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture and discovered by exegesis following the rules of sound interpretation All other senses of Sacred Scripture are based on the literal 83 117 The spiritual sense Thanks to the unity of God s plan not only the text of Scripture but also the realities and events about which it speaks can be signs 1 The allegorical sense We can acquire a more profound understanding of events by recognizing their significance in Christ thus the crossing of the Red Sea is a sign or type of Christ s victory and also of Christian Baptism 84 2 The moral sense The events reported in Scripture ought to lead us to act justly As St Paul says they were written for our instruction 85 3 The anagogical sense Greek anagoge leading We can view realities and events in terms of their eternal significance leading us toward our true homeland thus the Church on earth is a sign of the heavenly Jerusalem 86 118 A medieval couplet summarizes the significance of the four senses The Letter speaks of deeds Allegory to faith The Moral how to act Anagogy our destiny 87 119 It is the task of exegetes to work according to these rules towards a better understanding and explanation of the meaning of Sacred Scripture in order that their research may help the Church to form a firmer judgement For of course all that has been said about the manner of interpreting Scripture is ultimately subject to the judgement of the Church which exercises the divinely conferred commission and ministry of watching over and interpreting the Word of God 88 But I would not believe in the Gospel had not the authority of the Catholic Church already moved me 89 IV THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE 120 It was by the apostolic Tradition that the Church discerned which writings are to be included in the list of the sacred books 90 This complete list is called the canon of Scripture It includes 46 books for the Old Testament 45 if we count Jeremiah and Lamentations as one and 27 for the New 91 The Old Testament Genesis Exodus Leviticus Numbers Deuteronomy Joshua Judges Ruth and Samuel and Kings and Chronicles Ezra and Nehemiah Tobit Judith Esther and Maccabees Job Psalms Proverbs Ecclesiastes the Song of Songs the Wisdom of Solomon Sirach Ecclesiasticus Isaiah Jeremiah Lamentations Baruch Ezekiel Daniel Hosea Joel Amos Obadiah Jonah Micah Nahum Habakkuk Zephaniah Haggai Zachariah and Malachi The New Testament the Gospels according to Matthew Mark Luke and John the Acts of the Apostles the Letters of St Paul to the Romans and Corinthians Galatians Ephesians Philippians Colossians and Thessalonians and Timothy Titus Philemon the Letter to the Hebrews the Letters of James and Peter 1 and John and Jude and Revelation the Apocalypse The Old Testament 121 The Old Testament is an indispensable part of Sacred Scripture Its books are divinely inspired and retain a permanent value 92 for the Old Covenant has never been revoked 122 Indeed the economy of the Old Testament was deliberately SO oriented that it should prepare for and declare in prophecy the coming of Christ redeemer of all men 93 Even though they contain matters imperfect and provisional 94 the books of the OldTestament bear witness to the whole divine pedagogy of God s saving love these writings are a storehouse of sublime teaching on God and of sound wisdom on human life as well as a wonderful treasury of prayers in them too the

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  • Catechism of the Catholic Church | Catholic Culture
    forge its own unity as at Babel 11 But because of sin both polytheism and the idolatry of the nation and of its rulers constantly threaten this provisional economy with the perversion of paganism 12 58 The covenant with Noah remains in force during the times of the Gentiles until the universal proclamation of the Gospel 13 The Bible venerates several great figures among the Gentiles Abel the just the king priest Melchisedek a figure of Christ and the upright Noah Daniel and Job 14 Scripture thus expresses the heights of sanctity that can be reached by those who live according to the covenant of Noah waiting for Christ to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad 15 God chooses Abraham 59 In order to gather together scattered humanity God calls Abram from his country his kindred and his father s house 16 and makes him Abraham that is the father of a multitude of nations In you all the nations of the earth shall be blessed 17 60 The people descended from Abraham would be the trustee of the promise made to the patriarchs the chosen people called to prepare for that day when God would gather all his children into the unity of the Church 18 They would be the root on to which the Gentiles would be grafted once they came to believe 19 61 The patriarchs prophets and certain other Old Testament figures have been and always will be honoured as saints in all the Church s liturgical traditions God forms his people Israel 62 After the patriarchs God formed Israel as his people by freeing them from slavery in Egypt He established with them the covenant of Mount Sinai and through Moses gave them his law so that they would recognize him and serve him as the one living and true God the provident Father and just judge and so that they would look for the promised Saviour 20 63 Israel is the priestly people of God called by the name of the LORD and the first to hear the word of God 21 the people of elder brethren in the faith of Abraham 64 Through the prophets God forms his people in the hope of salvation in the expectation of a new and everlasting Covenant intended for all to be written on their hearts 22 The prophets proclaim a radical redemption of the People of God purification from all their infidelities a salvation which will include all the nations 23 Above all the poor and humble of the Lord will bear this hope Such holy women as Sarah Rebecca Rachel Miriam Deborah Hannah Judith and Esther kept alive the hope of Israel s salvation The purest figure among them is Mary 24 III CHRIST JESUS MEDIATOR AND FULLNESS OF ALL REVELATION 25 God has said everything in his Word 65 In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets but in these last days

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  • Catechism of the Catholic Church | Catholic Culture
    GOODNESS 51 It pleased God in his goodness and wisdom to reveal himself and to make known the mystery of his will His will was that men should have access to the Father through Christ the Word made flesh in the Holy Spirit and thus become sharers in the divine nature 2 52 God who dwells in unapproachable light wants to communicate his own divine life to the men he freely created in order to adopt them as his sons in his only begotten Son 3 By revealing himself God wishes to make them capable of responding to him and of knowing him and of loving him far beyond their own natural capacity 53 The divine plan of Revelation is realized simultaneously by deeds and words which are intrinsically bound up with each other 4 and shed light on each another It involves a specific divine pedagogy God communicates himself to man gradually He prepares him to welcome by stages the supernatural Revelation that is to culminate in the person and mission of the incarnate Word Jesus Christ St Irenaeus of Lyons repeatedly speaks of this divine pedagogy using the image of God and man becoming accustomed to one another

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  • Catechism of the Catholic Church | Catholic Culture
    sin God at once sought to save humanity part by part The covenant with Noah after the flood gives expression to the principle of the divine economy toward the nations in other words towards men grouped in their lands each with its own language by their families in their nations 9 57 This state of division into many nations is at once cosmic social and religious It is intended to limit the pride of fallen humanity 10 united only in its perverse ambition to forge its own unity as at Babel 11 But because of sin both polytheism and the idolatry of the nation and of its rulers constantly threaten this provisional economy with the perversion of paganism 12 58 The covenant with Noah remains in force during the times of the Gentiles until the universal proclamation of the Gospel 13 The Bible venerates several great figures among the Gentiles Abel the just the king priest Melchisedek a figure of Christ and the upright Noah Daniel and Job 14 Scripture thus expresses the heights of sanctity that can be reached by those who live according to the covenant of Noah waiting for Christ to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad 15 God chooses Abraham 59 In order to gather together scattered humanity God calls Abram from his country his kindred and his father s house 16 and makes him Abraham that is the father of a multitude of nations In you all the nations of the earth shall be blessed 17 60 The people descended from Abraham would be the trustee of the promise made to the patriarchs the chosen people called to prepare for that day when God would gather all his children into the unity of the Church 18 They would be the root on to which the Gentiles would be grafted once they came to believe 19 61 The patriarchs prophets and certain other Old Testament figures have been and always will be honoured as saints in all the Church s liturgical traditions God forms his people Israel 62 After the patriarchs God formed Israel as his people by freeing them from slavery in Egypt He established with them the covenant of Mount Sinai and through Moses gave them his law so that they would recognize him and serve him as the one living and true God the provident Father and just judge and so that they would look for the promised Saviour 20 63 Israel is the priestly people of God called by the name of the LORD and the first to hear the word of God 21 the people of elder brethren in the faith of Abraham 64 Through the prophets God forms his people in the hope of salvation in the expectation of a new and everlasting Covenant intended for all to be written on their hearts 22 The prophets proclaim a radical redemption of the People of God purification from all their infidelities a salvation which will include

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  • Catechism of the Catholic Church | Catholic Culture
    Widgets Feeds Contact Us Advertise Subscribe Login Donate Resources Home Library Website Reviews What You Need to Know Catholic Dictionary Catechism Church Fathers Most Collection Free eBooks Catechism of the Catholic Church In the beginning God makes himself known 54 God who creates and conserves all things by his Word provides men with constant evidence of himself in created realities And furthermore wishing to open up the way to heavenly salvation he manifested himself to our first parents from the very beginning 6 He invited them to intimate communion with himself and clothed them with resplendent grace and justice 55 This revelation was not broken off by our first parents sin After the fall God buoyed them up with the hope of salvation by promising redemption and he has never ceased to show his solicitude for the human race For he wishes to give eternal life to all those who seek salvation by patience in well doing 7 Even when he disobeyed you and lost your friendship you did not abandon him to the power of death Again and again you offered a covenant to man 8 Notes 6 DV 3 cf Jn 1 3 Rom 1 19 20 7

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  • Catechism of the Catholic Church | Catholic Culture
    56 After the unity of the human race was shattered by sin God at once sought to save humanity part by part The covenant with Noah after the flood gives expression to the principle of the divine economy toward the nations in other words towards men grouped in their lands each with its own language by their families in their nations 9 57 This state of division into many nations is at once cosmic social and religious It is intended to limit the pride of fallen humanity 10 united only in its perverse ambition to forge its own unity as at Babel 11 But because of sin both polytheism and the idolatry of the nation and of its rulers constantly threaten this provisional economy with the perversion of paganism 12 58 The covenant with Noah remains in force during the times of the Gentiles until the universal proclamation of the Gospel 13 The Bible venerates several great figures among the Gentiles Abel the just the king priest Melchisedek a figure of Christ and the upright Noah Daniel and Job 14 Scripture thus expresses the heights of sanctity that can be reached by those who live according to the covenant of

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  • Catechism of the Catholic Church | Catholic Culture
    Home On Facebook On Twitter eNewsletters Site Tour Web Widgets Feeds Contact Us Advertise Subscribe Login Donate Resources Home Library Website Reviews What You Need to Know Catholic Dictionary Catechism Church Fathers Most Collection Free eBooks Catechism of the Catholic Church God chooses Abraham 59 In order to gather together scattered humanity God calls Abram from his country his kindred and his father s house 16 and makes him Abraham that is the father of a multitude of nations In you all the nations of the earth shall be blessed 17 60 The people descended from Abraham would be the trustee of the promise made to the patriarchs the chosen people called to prepare for that day when God would gather all his children into the unity of the Church 18 They would be the root on to which the Gentiles would be grafted once they came to believe 19 61 The patriarchs prophets and certain other Old Testament figures have been and always will be honoured as saints in all the Church s liturgical traditions Notes 16 Gen 12 1 17 Gen 17 5 12 3 LXX cf Gal 3 8 18 Cf Rom 11 28 Jn 11 52

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  • Catechism of the Catholic Church | Catholic Culture
    Israel 62 After the patriarchs God formed Israel as his people by freeing them from slavery in Egypt He established with them the covenant of Mount Sinai and through Moses gave them his law so that they would recognize him and serve him as the one living and true God the provident Father and just judge and so that they would look for the promised Saviour 20 63 Israel is the priestly people of God called by the name of the LORD and the first to hear the word of God 21 the people of elder brethren in the faith of Abraham 64 Through the prophets God forms his people in the hope of salvation in the expectation of a new and everlasting Covenant intended for all to be written on their hearts 22 The prophets proclaim a radical redemption of the People of God purification from all their infidelities a salvation which will include all the nations 23 Above all the poor and humble of the Lord will bear this hope Such holy women as Sarah Rebecca Rachel Miriam Deborah Hannah Judith and Esther kept alive the hope of Israel s salvation The purest figure among them is Mary

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